TillVAS Till Valley Archaeological Society
TillVAS             Till Valley Archaeological Society


Welcome to the website of the

Till Valley Archaeological Society (TillVAS)

Patron: Rt. Hon. Lord Joicey


Hon. President: Dr. Chris Burgess

The Society's core aim is

"To encourage and promote the study of the archaeology, heritage and history of the catchment area of the River Till and the eastern Border lands of England and Scotland".


We would like to share with you our interest in and enthusiasm for, everything to do with the history of the Till Valley and its river catchment, in north Northumberland, together with the eastern Border lands, once known as the English and Scottish Marches.

Photo-River Till, looking south from Twizel Bridge


The website has a dual purpose:-

Firstly, we wish to reach as wide an audience as possible so that, hopefully, those interested will want to attend meetings, excursions, archaeological 'digs', field walking and social occasions and become members of the Society.

Secondly, the intention is to keep members up-to-date with all the latest news and to inform them on what has happened, what is happening and what is planned for the future.


The Till Valley and the eastern Borders are rich in history and archaeological sites, set in attractive and varied landscapes. The River Till rises high up in the Cheviot Hills and is named the River Breamish in its upper reaches, becoming the River Till at Bewick Mill. It is a major tributary of the River Tweed and, unlike other tributaries, its course lies entirely in England. It is a long river, perhaps 40 miles, although it is difficult to be precise because of its many twists and turns before it finally flows into the River Tweed at Tillmouth.                      


All photos on this and other pages © TillVAS or members who have given permission.

TillVAS is a not-for-profit organisation recognised as charitable by HMRC.

TillVAS is on Twitter and Facebook

The counter below shows the number of visitors to the website since October 2013:-

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Please note changes to the advertised programme for 2020


May 6th - Prof. Ian Ralston 'Doon Hill Revisited'


June 3rd- Dr. Ben Roberts 'The Salcombe Shipwreck'

James IV memorial lecture on 6th October.


Max Adams 

'In the Land of Giants - a Journey Through the Dark Ages'.


Tickets will be available in advance - please check the website or look for posters.

For details of a special offer to TillVAS members from Oxbow books please see the 'other projects' page

Members  may be interested in three talks at this year’s Berwick Literary Festival.


Gwen Chessell and Judy Crow

Title: Immortalising our Heroes

Two authors of historical biography talk about their approaches to choosing their subjects and the fascination of researching their lives ...

Friday, 18th October, 2 pm - Holy Trinity Parish Centre, Tickets: £6, on sale in person, phone and online from the Maltings, Berwick.

Copies of books available at Grieves Bookshop, Church Street, Berwick and at the Festival


Lindsay Allason-Jones’ talk on ‘Roman Women: everyday life in Hadrian’s Britain’.

Sunday 20th October at midday

Location: Berwick Visitor Centre


Max Adams - The Viking Wars: war and peace in King Alfred’s Britain’.

Date and time: Sunday 20th October at 4.00 p.m.

Location: Berwick Guildhall


Tickets for both events can be bought online, in person or by phone from The Maltings box office in Berwick from 2 September: space is limited, so early booking is advised. For full details see https://www.maltingsberwick.co.uk/ Tel: 01289 330999

Aspects of Buildings & Monuments: Branxton, Crookham, Etal, Ford

by Antony Chessell & Gwen Chessell. Price £10 pbk 214pp.

Foreword by Rt. Hon. Lord Joicey

ISBN 978-0-244-75069-5


The second publication by TillVAS is a fully illustrated book which aims to draw attention to the many interesting building features and monuments in the four villages and surrounding hamlets. It is a potterer’s guide to local building styles and techniques that have determined the character of the villages, the countryside and the life of the people in the area. The authors will be donating the net proceeds of sale to TillVAS.

Copies of the book will be available at TillVAS meetings and at the Lavender Tearooms at Etal, Ford Village Shop and Heatherslaw Mill Shop. The book may also be purchased online. Just click on:-

www.lulu.com/spotlight/antonychessell or



The Society has an extensive collection of documents and photographs held in its secure archives. These are invaluable for members wishing to study the local history of the area or wishing to gather information for e.g. the  Village Atlas Project. Please click on the tag above to see the catalogues. Anyone wishing to access the archives should contact the Society's Archivist, Maureen Charlton or the Assistant Archivist, Julia Day.


Please see a new section on the website—click on the appropriate tab above.  Please let us have your thoughts, in prose or in verse.

Please click on the Latest Newsletter page to see information for the current month.


Click on Reports on Events, above, for detailed accounts and press reports.


The Society operates a bookstall at all its meetings.

Items for sale include:-

1. The Society's first publication Breamish and Till: From Source to Tweed at £10 per copy and

2. Vivian Wilcock's Andrew Todd 1844-1908 ( with research input by TillVAS members) at £5 per copy.

See the Publications page for more about these books. Copies of Breamish and Till are also available in Cornhill Village Shop and the Lavender Tea Rooms and Village Shop in Etal.


There are also archaeological books and journals for sale. Net proceeds of sale go to TillVAS funds.